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How Do I Choose the Best Tattoo Balm?

By A. Rohlandt
Updated May 21, 2024
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When choosing tattoo balm, you should look for a product that can be used to prepare the skin prior to receiving a tattoo, help heal the skin after the tattoo, and that can also help revitalize and refresh old tattoos. The best tattoo balm should moisturize and protect the skin from water exposure, sun damage, and potential infection. Ingredients such as lavender, rose, and tea tree oil may help to relieve irritation, speed healing and prevent infection. Tattoo balm is also available as a serum that can be sprayed onto the skin.

If you use the tattoo balm to prepare your skin before getting a tattoo, you may find that the tattoo heals more easily and that you get a better end result. The best balm will also help the skin to heal after the tattoo and can also be used once healing is complete. These balms may also be used to brighten old tattoos, making them look newer by nourishing the skin and brightening the colors in the ink.

A good tattoo balm should provide intensive moisturization. Products that contain ingredients like mango seed butter, shea butter, jojoba oil, olive oil, and coconut oil all moisturize and condition the skin to leave it feeling softer. Tattoo balm may also include moisturizing ingredients that encourage the production of collagen to leave the skin feeling firmer.

Water exposure should be avoided if you have recently had a tattoo, and some of the best tattoo balms may help keep water from getting onto the skin if you apply the balm before taking a bath or shower. Beeswax is used in a number of these balms, and may be a more natural and safer alternative than petroleum-based products.

Tattoo balm should include some form of sun protection. Look for a product that helps protect the skin from potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. If the balm you choose does not contain a sunscreen, you should always apply one, in addition to the balm, before exposing the tattoo to the sun.

Infection can ruin a new tattoo, and this is why it's important to choose a tattoo balm that will help to prevent infection. Balms that contain essential oils such as tea tree and lavender may help to protect against bacterial, fungal, and viral infections while the skin heals. Rose oil is believed to be antibacterial and to have antiseptic qualities. These oils may also soothe skin and help to relieve discomfort while the skin is healing.

Balms also come in the form of oil-based serums. These are generally sold in spray bottles, which may be a more convenient application method on areas that are hard to reach, such as the back. A spray may also be easier to use on larger tattoos.

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Discussion Comments
By lluviaporos — On Sep 15, 2014

@pleonasm - The best balm in the world isn't going to help if you've been tattooed in bad conditions. But it is also up to the person to look after it afterwards. You have to make sure you don't go swimming, for example, and apply whatever balm they did recommend frequently.

By pleonasm — On Sep 14, 2014

@KoiwiGal - Well, even if they do try to sell it to you, I would still be quite happy to take it from a reputable artist. They usually stock the stuff they use themselves and wouldn't recommend it unless it worked well.

The trick there is to make sure you are seeing a good artist in the first place. Don't ever go anywhere that isn't completely certified and up to international standards, no matter how many people recommend it.

My sister once got a tattoo from a friend at his house and it got so infected she ended up in the hospital. The tattoo looked beautiful. He just didn't sterilize his workplace to medical standards.

By KoiwiGal — On Sep 14, 2014

When I got my tattoo my tattooist recommended I use a particular kind of nappy rash cream and it worked so well I've tried to keep a tube of it handy ever since.

It's perfect because it seals off the rawness as well as healing it so nothing gets infected.

I've also had people tell me that there are certain kinds of salt water sprays that can work really well too. I think if your tattoo artist recommends something without trying to directly sell it to you then it's probably going to be pretty good.

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